Expanding Rural Community Networks Through Partnerships with Key Actors
The infrastructures deployed by classical telecommunications oper ators are appropriate and cost-effective for urban-oriented business models, but rural areas with very low population density require alternatives both in terms of the technology used and in business models. New generation networks become more and more dense and heterogeneous, increasing the gap as operators can not spend the required CAPEX and OPEX in sparsely populated areas where the revenues will certainly be very low. At the same time, an increasing number of communities worldwide provide themselves networking solutions, which is becoming a global alternative move ment called "community networks". However, rural areas are challenging because of the technical difficulti es of getting connected to the world and the scarcity of technical skills, among other reasons. Other stakeholders such as municipalities or regional governments are also relevant actors but cannot provide a solution by themselves. Partnerships between different actors for deploying rural connectivity could be the answer, taking advantage somehow of the "shared infrastructure model" proposed in IETF RFC7962. This paper analyses the relationship between dif ferent stakeholders and the main elements to consider when deploying mobile communications services in isolated and sparsely populated regions. The analysis uses a case study from the Napo River Network in Peru and compares it with other experiences such as Zenzeleni Networks in South Africa or Rizhoma tica in Mexico.
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